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Singing For My Supper
Model: EARLY JAMES
Release Date: 13 March 2020
2020 debut album. Latest signing by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys). Also available on CD.
Early James, an Alabama native and the latest signing to Dan Auerbach’s (Black Keys) Easy Eye Sound roster, releases his debut album, ‘Singing for My Supper’. The album spans hard-charging blues, wistful folk, and ages-old pop crooning, anchored by the singer’s voice that oscillates from gravel-gruff shout to a honey-smooth whisper. James’ inspirations run from Fiona Apple and Tom Waits to the Southern gothic poets, as heard in the album’s darker themes and in the wry humour with which he writes about them.
The album includes first single “Blue Pill Blues”. American Songwriter calls Early an “emerging alt-folk star” and say of the song: ‘‘“Blue Pill Blues” is a stellar first track and one that showcases the unique — and quick — transitions that James’ vocals can make. He deftly switches from a melodic whisper to a gravely, if not guttural, growl to drive home his all-too-relatable lyrics.” Auerbach, who decided he needed to produce the singer’s debut album after watching just two seconds of a video of James performing, says: “Some people are good singers, and some people are better than good singers; they just have this great form of expression.”
Early James’ debut features ten wide-ranging songs and full of world-weary wisdom. “Blue Pill Blues” details a period when James, who was being treated for depression, quit his anti-psychotic medication cold turkey. “High Horse” is a lament of the ways his adolescent excitement faded with the arrival of the vices of adulthood, while “Easter Eggs” finds the songwriter coming to terms with some of the darker sides of his heredity.
As soon as he was old enough, Early James moved from Troy to Birmingham, Alabama, where he’s become an integral part of the city’s thriving music scene over the past half-decade. His diverse experience in the Birmingham scene has helped mould him into a singular talent whose sound remains uncategorizable. Mother Jones says, “Early James is the type of guy that might have walked into Sun Studios in the 1950s to record an unhinged rockabilly single with Sam Phillips. James sounds like an obscure, ribald 1920’s crooner time-warped into a 1990s heavy-alternative band.”
Coming out of a local music scene as first-rate as Birmingham has also helped sculpt James into a songwriter who obsesses over the craft and texture of every word he’s ever sung. “Every line has to mean something to him, personally,” says Auerbach. “It’s not good enough to just write a good song, it needs to have a deeper meaning. He’s unlike any person I’ve ever worked with. He’s not writing a song to be universal; he’s writing a song for him.”
Tracklisting: Blue Pill Blues / Stockholm Syndrome / Way of the Dinosaur / Clockwork Town / Easter Eggs / It Doesn’t Matter Now / High Horse / All Down Hill / Gone as a Ghost / Dishes in the Dark
Release Date: 17 April 2020
2020 debut album from Ed O’Brien (Radiohead). Also available on vinyl.
Ed O’Brien never planned to make a solo record. As a guitarist with Radiohead, who over almost three decades and nine albums have established themselves as one of the most innovative and influential musical forces of our time, he thought his artistic side had its outlet and was happy to spend any downtime from Radiohead with his family. Plus, he wondered, would it really be necessary? “Thom, Jonny and Phillip are making music,” he says, “and I’m like, ‘The last thing the world needs is a shit album by me.’"
But suddenly a switch was flicked and the songs came pouring out of him. That creative surge resulted in an album of rediscovery and adventure by O’Brien under the moniker EOB that deftly veers from moments of delicate folk to euphoric house, its songs seamlessly pinned together by unswerving melodic hooks and candid lyricism. A spirit of collaboration runs through it, from the production team of Flood, Catherine Marks, Alan Moulder and Adam ‘Cecil’ Bartlett to the extraordinary musicians O’Brien assembled to help bring these tracks to life; Omar Hakim, Colin Greenwood, David Okumu, Laura Marling, Adrian Utley, Nathan East and Glenn Kotche.
But every group of collaborators needs a leader, and this album is all O’Brien’s vision. “I wanted to make a record from the heart,” he says. “I wanted to make something direct. I wanted to talk about love, your family in the immediate and the wider sense, where we are on the planet, the bigger picture, life and death. I wanted to make a big hearted, warm and colourful album… something hopeful and full of love.”
It all started in Brazil. Ed and his family moved out to the Brazilian countryside at the end of 2012. After setting up a home studio and dabbling with the idea of making an electronic record, a listen to Primal Scream’s landmark 'Screamadelica' was O’Brien’s eureka moment. “I thought, this is it… I want my music to have that joy, that light, the depth and breadth of that album… elements of dance, soul, ambient… Uplifting in parts.” He immediately picked up an acoustic guitar and started writing, the new direction further influenced by a trip to Rio Carnival. “Carnival was another eureka moment… an extraordinary explosion of rhythm, melody, dance, light and joy… I felt there was a thread right through 'Screamadelica', rave and carnival.”
The O’Briens returned home in summer 2013 and Ed hunkered down in a remote cottage in the shadow of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales to begin writing songs. After working on and promoting the last Radiohead album ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, Ed got started for real and over three weeks, in the Autumn of 2017, O’Brien and his house band got down the bones of the record. A year of tinkering and re-working followed at Assault & Battery Studios in Willesden, London. “The house band was so good for some tracks – but other stuff needed a different approach. Any record that I’ve been involved with, that’s been of any merit, is always a journey.”
Tracklisting: Shangri-La / Brasil / Deep Days / Long Time Coming / Mass / Banksters / Sail On / Olympik / Cloak of the Night
Model: BODY COUNT
Release Date: 06 March 2020
The originators of Rap Metal, Body Count are back with their latest album ‘Carnivore’ lead by the legendary rapper Ice-T. This is the 30th anniversary since the band’s formation and they continue to issue uncompromising and yet critically acclaimed albums in pairing Ice-T’s angry and socio-critical lyrics with thick guitar riffs and nods to metal and hardcore greats like Slayer, Metallica, Pantera, Suicidal Tendencies and Rage Against The Machine.
Bangers like “Thee Critical Beatdown”, “The Hate Is Real” and the title track will please old school Body Count fans, while “Colors” is a killer metal version of Ice-T’s 1988 hit single of the same name. With Motörhead’s classic “Ace Of Spades” Body Count are again paying tribute to one of their major musical influences. “When I’m Gone” shows a new side of Body Count and features guest vocals by Amy Lee (Evanescence). Other guest musicians include Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer), Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Riley Gale (Power Trip).
This isn’t your parents’ Ice-T, the mild-mannered star of television’s Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, who takes his charm to affable new heights while selling lemonade alongside precocious kids in a current Geico commercial. No, this is Body Count, the gangster-metal collective that made music fearsome to mainstream America, their renegade track “Cop Killer” sending politicians, parents and law enforcement officials into a proverbial tailspin when it was released unto the world a quarter-century ago. That’s not to say Ice-T and Body Count have been silent over the past 25 years, but as Ice is quick to point out, you can’t start a movement if people aren’t willing to move. “Music happens in climates,” the Body Count frontman says. “Groups like Rage Against The Machine and Korn were born when the world was in turmoil, then music went into this delusional period where hip-hop became about nothing more than poppin’ bottles. Now we have impending doom again, racism is at an all-time high and it’s our season again. This is the optimal time for a Body Count record.”
Tracklisting: Carnivore / Point the Finger / Bum-Rush / Ace of Spades / Another Level / Colors (2020) / No Remorse / When I’m Gone / Thee Critical Beatdown / The Hate Is Real
Fodder On My Wings
Model: NINA SIMONE
Release Date: 03 April 2020
1982 album with 3 bonus tracks. Also available on vinyl.
Recorded in 1982, not long after she moved to Paris, ‘Fodder On My Wings’ was one of Nina Simone’s personal favourites of her own albums and yet has remained one of her most obscure. Originally recorded for a small French label and only sporadically available since its initial release. The album is one of Simone’s most introspective and personal works, with songs about her father’s death and her (not always pleasant) stay in Liberia, Trinidad and Switzerland.
‘Fodder On My Wings’ also features similarly personal and autobiographical songs such as “I Was Just A Stupid Dog To Them” and a searing lyrical improvisation about the death of her father, on a remake of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)”. Simone’s loneliness at the time of her Parisian stay exacerbated her mental illness, and her family life was fractured. From her despair, the near-title track “Fodder On Her Wings” was forged.
Pitchfork, in their analysis of Simone’s most memorable work, said that the song “Fodder On Her Wings” “captured with startling intimacy the pain of this period, and she returned to it frequently through the next decade, cutting another studio version three years later (the synth-heavy take on ‘Nina’s Back!’) and including it on several live albums, including an awe-inspiring performance on 1987’s ‘Let It Be Me’. Simone’s vocal makes a song of weariness and defeat carry an air of defiance, a wise word from someone who survived to tell the tale.”
Tracklisting: I Sing Just to Know That I’m Alive / Fodder in Her Wings / Vous Etes Seuls, Mais Je Désire / Etre Avec Vous / Il Y a Un Baume À Gilead / Liberian Calypso / Alone Again Naturally / I Was Just a Stupid Dog to Them / Color Is a Beautiful Thing / Le Peuple En Suisse / Heaven Belongs to You / Thandewye / Stop / They Took My Hand
Release Date: 20 March 2020
2020 album. Also available on CD.
Amalie Bruun aka Myrkur releases her third album ‘Folkesange’ which moves away from the black metal of the first two records towards a traditional folk sound journeying into the Scandinavian culture that marked her childhood. ‘Folkesange’ offers an emotional sanctuary, from the opening track “Ella” and its heartbeat, frame-drum percussion and crystalline vocals that become the grounding for a rapt, richly textured awakening, to the gentle carousel of the closing “Vinter”, with its nostalgia-steeped connotations of seasonal, snowfall-bewitched awe.
Although the album looks backward using traditional instruments throughout, such as nyckelharpa, lyre, and mandola, the album is no museum piece; it resonates in the here and now, aided by the spacious production of Heilung member and musical collaborator Christopher Juul. Cinematic yet intimate, ‘Folkesange’ exists in a state of boundless reverie, bourne by string-led drones, cyclical, elegiac rhythms and Amalie’s frictionless voice, all carrier signals for deep-rooted, ancestral memories, and associations felt on an elemental level.
An immersive experience in its own right, but also belonging to a wider, pagan folk-based renaissance that has attracted a devoted following worldwide, ‘Folkesange’ answers a need that has become ever more pressing in turbulent times. A zeroing in on a resonance that is both intrinsic and enduring, it’s a rediscovery of personal grounding, and an experience that reaches beyond culture to remind us of a shared, deeply rooted inheritance. A tuning fork that binds the personal and the universal, ‘Folkesange’ is a reminder that the most transcendent experiences are those closest to home.
Tracklisting: Ella / Fager som en Ros / Leaves of Yggdrasil / Ramund / Tor i Helheim / Svea / Harpens Kraft / Gammelkäring / House Carpenter / Reiar / Gudernes Vilje / Vinter
Model: GREGORY PORTER
Release Date: 17 April 2020
Undeniably one of the best voices of our generation, Grammy award-winning singing sensation Gregory Porter has made his eagerly-awaited return to the studio with his sixth studio album ‘All Rise’.
Following on from 2017’s ‘Nat King Cole & Me’ album, Porter’s forthcoming record marks a return to his beloved original songwriting – heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, and gospel. First single, “Revival”, sets the tone, kicking off with Gregory’s signature hand-clapping. “Yes, you could say that I went big,” says Gregory about the track, which features a handpicked horn section and 10-member choir. He explains, “For me, it’s the message of walking into this life and having some fear and self-doubt, and the point where you grab onto something that you know is real, the silent and real things, the truth… Once you can wrap onto the truth then this fearlessness comes.”
Since his 2013 debut, ‘Liquid Spirit’, which won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Gregory hasn’t let down his legion of fans, whether collaborating with Disclosure on ‘Holding On’, releasing his dance hit ‘Liquid Spirit – Claptone Remix’ which became one of the most popular tracks in Ibiza, scoring another Grammy for ‘Take Me to the Alley’ (2016), or telling his life story through Cole’s songbook. Porter is still surprised by his runaway success, but he has a theory: “I was soothed by my voice as a child and I think that’s the same thing others get from it. I’m trying to heal myself with these songs.”
Tracklisting: Concorde / Dad Gone Thing / Revival / If Love Is Overrated / Faith In Love / Merchants of Paradise / Long List of Troubles / Mr. Holland / Modern Day Apprentice / Everything You Touch Is Gold / Phoenix / Merry Go Round / Real Truth (bonus track 1) / You Can Join My Band (bonus track 2) / Thank You
Release Date: 28 February 2020
2020 album. Electronic. Also available on CD.
‘Cyan’ is the third full length LP from San Francisco Bay Area-based band The Seshen. Taking its name from a colour that is both strong and soft, the LP unravels the progression that has been made since 2016’s ‘Flames and Figures’, both as a band and as individuals “Since ‘Flames and Figures’, a lot has been taking place both internally and externally.” lyricist and vocalist Lalin St. Juste recollects, “we were on tour for the last album during the 2016 US election. There was an intense heaviness, a familiar one, one that extends generations and it just sunk in even further.” The battle to overcome this heaviness, felt as a result of political and social issues and through Lalin’s own experiences with combating depression, fuels ‘Cyan’. “I was at the edge of myself,” she confesses. “This album is about pulling back the layers of who I am in order to push through sadness and grab onto what’s underneath”.
From the opening lines of the album on “Take It All Away”, these ideas are displayed - “I think it’s been too long that I’ve been your puppet / Cut these strings, I don’t want any of it”, she sings. Led by exposed yet bold musical endeavours from bassist/producer Akiyoshi Ehara, the album sees The Seshen delve into uncharted eclectic realms; “I think that there’s a lot more rawness on this record” Aki muses. Anchored by Lalin’s sly, silvery vocals (which draw frequent comparisons to Erykah Badu) and cerebral yet playful rhythms from producer-bassist Aki, The Seshen’s music pulls from a deep well of electronic influences, R&B, and indie rock. Drummer Chris Thalmann, keyboard/synth player Mahesh Rao, percussionist Mirza Kopelman and sequencer Kumar Butler make the music three-dimensional, blending live and digital instrumentation for a mercurial, transportive sound. Since 2012, the Seshen’s live show has earned them critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase on multiple continents, as they’ve shared stages with the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, Petite Noir, tUnEyArDs, and Thundercat.
Tracklisting: Take It All / 4AM / Still Dreaming / Head To Head / Close Your Eyes / 1000 Lights / Faster Than Before / Don’t Answer / Can’t Pretend / Dive / Stones / Wander
Model: BLACK MARKET BRASS
Release Date: 13 March 2020
2020 album. Afrobeat and horns. Also available on vinyl.
Black Market Brass release their second album ‘Undying Thirst’. Founded in Minneapolis, USA in the spring of 2012, BMB came together when two guitar players discovered each other’s almost identical Craigslist ads aimed at starting a funk band influenced by, among other things, the sounds of Fela Kuti, K Frimpong, and King Sunny Ade. Over the next three years the band would relentlessly rehearse, fine tune, and develop their sound. What started as a funk band playing obscure covers eventually blossomed into a creative collective of musicians that writes, arranges, and performs original music that builds on the sounds of Nigerian Afrobeat by tastefully blending it with other styles. Their first album ‘Cheat And Start A Fight’ from 2016 was laden with endless polyrhythms driven by intricate percussion, intertwined guitar parts, and rock-solid bass and drums. And horns.
The bands press release says of the new record: “‘Undying Thirst’, is a noxious brew of diesel and bleach; a special long-player full of wasteoid rippers for skullduggerous hover-bike gangs peddling fugazi relics and snake oil tinctures. Hellacious guitars, nitrous-charged percussion, a brass section harsher than paint-thinner, and a special batch of short-circuited electronics and synthesizers will leave your head buzzing into the 31st century. Blasting ‘Undying Thirst’ from your home speaker system is like going over a waterfall in a rusted out oil barrel, long after the sun has boiled the falls dry.”
Tracklisting: Cheat And Start A Fight / N.B.T. / War Room / Into The Thick / Intro / Undying Thirst / So Who (pt 1) / So Who (pt 2)
When I Was Young: The MGM Recordings 1967-1968
Model: ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS
Release Date: 21 February 2020
Contains the remastered albums Winds Of Change, The Twain Shall Meet, Every One Of Us, Love Is, & Winds Of Change (Mono) plus 10 bonus tracks. Esoteric.
Eric Burdon And The Animals came together in December 1966 when the original Animals had ground to a halt. Vocalist Eric Burdon recruited Vic Briggs (guitar, piano), John Weider (guitar, violin, bass), Danny McCulloch (bass) and Barry Jenkins (drums) to form a new group which changed direction away from raucous Rhythm and Blues and embraced Psychedelic rock and the influences of the emerging counter-culture. Signing to MGM Records in the USA (where he became based) and teaming up with producer Tom Wilson (also famed for his work with Bob Dylan, The Mothers Of Invention and The Velvet Underground), the band’s debut single “When I Was Young” released in April 1967 was a powerful statement, featuring Weider’s violin and Briggs’ fuzzed guitar, becoming a hit in Europe, Australia and the USA. The B-side of the single “A Girl Named Sandoz” was a psychedelic ode to the Swiss pharmaceutical company which developed LSD.
The follow-up single, “San Franciscan Nights”, issued in August 1967, came hot on the heels of the band’s famed appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 and would be the band’s biggest hit, breaking the top twenty in the UK, Europe and the USA. The band’s debut album, ‘Winds Of Change’ was issued in October 1967 and featured the singles “San Franciscan Nights” and “Good Times”, along with an inventive cover version of The Rolling Stones “Paint It Black” and the psychedelic rockers “Yes, I Am Experienced” (a tribute to Burdon’s friend Jimi Hendrix) and “It’s All Meat”.
The album ‘The Twain Shall Meet’ was recorded in December 1967 but not issued until May 1968 and featured two further singles, “Monterey” and “Sky Pilot (Parts One & Two)”. Incredibly 1968 would see a further two album releases by the group in the USA and Europe; ‘Every One Of Us’, recorded in June and issued in August of that year, was a fine album which saw Zoot Money join the band on organ and piano, but inexplicably the album failed to gain a release in the UK. By the time of its release, Vic Briggs had departed to be replaced by Andy Summers (later with The Police) on guitar. This line-up recorded the double album ‘Love Is’ in Los Angeles in October 1968, issued only as a single LP in the UK, which featured imaginative cover versions of “River Deep Mountain High”, “Ring Of Fire” and Traffic’s “Coloured Rain”. Released in December 1968, it was to be the final album by the group. Burdon remained in the United States and joined forces with the group War in 1969.
Disc One: Winds Of Change / Poem By The Sea / Paint It Black / The Black Plague / Yes, I Am Experienced / San Franciscan Nights / Man – Woman / Hotel Hell / Good Times / Anything / It’s All Meat / When I Was Young / A Girl Named Sandoz / Ain’t That So / Gratefully Dead / Anything (Single Version)
Disc Two: Monterey / Just The Thought / Closer To The Truth / No Self Pity / Orange And Red Beams / Sky Pilot / We Love You Lil / All Is One / Sky Pilot (Part One) (Mono Single) / Sky Pilot (Part Two) (Mono Single) / Monterey (Mono Single Version)
Disc Three: White Houses / Uppers And Downers / Serenade To A Sweet Lady / The Immigrant Lad / Year Of The Guru / St. James Infirmary / New York 1963 –America 1968 / White Houses (Single Version)
Disc Four: River Deep, Mountain High / I’m An Animal / I’m Dying, Or Am I? / Ring Of Fire / Coloured Rain / To Love Somebody / As The Years Go Passing By / Gemini / The Madman (Running Through The Fields) / River Deep, Mountain High (Single Version)
Disc Five: Winds Of Change / Poem By The Sea / Paint It Black / The Black Plague / Yes, I Am Experienced / San Franciscan Nights / Man – Woman / Hotel Hell / Good Times / Anything / It’s All Meat
Model: ROSE COUSINS
Release Date: 21 February 2020
2020 album. Singer songwriter. Also available on CD.
JUNO award winning Canadian folk-pop artist Rose Cousins is a vital part of the thriving East Coast Canadian music scene and she is interested in the juxtaposition of things. Her new album, ‘Bravado’ peers behind the kinds of doors we tend to leave closed, [for better or worse, or both]. It is the sound of a heart trying to open. It is a bold swagger, a vulnerable facade.
'Bravado' is a record for those who struggle with loneliness and those wishing they had more time alone. It’s for those attempting to make their hearts go in more than one direction and those trying to make it go in just one. It’s for those who present a version of themselves to the world that doesn’t quite match how they feel inside. It’s for those who feel misunderstood or unseen. It’s for those who have a hard time saying what they feel, who hide or can’t let themselves off the hook. It’s for those asking, “is this it?” and questioning if the character they play in the movie of their lives is authentic or just a role they’ve accepted. It’s for those who have a hard time asking for help and for those desperate for and terrified of change.
“I think about how we're so disconnected. I get sucked into my phone and forget to go for a walk because of this sense of obligation that I have that convinces me to get as much work done as possible. It feels like we’re not connecting in person as much as we used to and that we may be the loneliest we've ever been. We're missing what's actually happening, like, the earth being on fire. We get caught in the spin of comparing our lives to social media depictions, false standards of a good life. I’ve been thinking about how we must be getting close to a breaking point."
For Cousins, this chapter is a personal and professional metamorphosis. She is in the producer chair, applying her years of experience, trusting her own ear and pulling thoughtfully from her network of talented colleagues.
‘Bravado’ is an exploration of self-worth and an investigation into the nuances of our tough exteriors - why we act brave while feeling afraid, how we appear impressive while privately questioning our worthiness, how confidence shares space with shame.’
Cousins’ last project, ‘Natural Conclusion’, received much acclaim, including a Grammy nomination, a JUNO nomination for Songwriter of the Year, and 3 wins at the East Coast Music Awards. Rose’s songs have appeared on Grey’s Anatomy, Supergirl, Reign, Nashville, and others. She has shared stages with heroic songwriters such as Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jann Arden & Ron Sexsmith.
Tracklisting: The Benefits Of Being Alone / The Expert / The Agreement / The Fraud / The Time Being (Impending Mortality Awareness Society) / The Din / The Return (Love Comes Back) / The Swimmer (To Be An Old Man) / The Lullaby (My Oldest Love) / The Benediction (A Good Woman) / The Reprise (The Benefits Of Being Alone) / The Truth (It’s Just Emotion)
Wild Wild East
Model: SUNNY JAIN
Release Date: 21 February 2020
2020 album. World.
The trailblazing Indian-American, Sunny Jain is internationally recognised as a musician with a distinct and recognisable sound and his new album ‘Wild Wild East’ encompasses myriad facets of Jain’s identity both as a first-generation South Asian-American and as a global musician, from his own family’s immigration story to his eclectic musical upbringing. “Sunny Jain is no purist... he hasn’t been shy about pulling his experiences as a first-generation Indian American who studied jazz at Rutgers and listens to modern dance-pop into his music.” - Washington Post
Sunny is recognised as a lead voice in the burgeoning movement of South Asian-American jazz musicians.The dhol player, drummer, and composer’s seven albums have all received international acclaim for their "groundbreaking synthesis" ( Coda Magazine ), as he brings together the ancient sounds of his cultural heritage, America's greatest original art form and a host of other sounds.
In recasting the immigrant steeped in the courage to leave a familiar homeland for a new beginning as the modern-day cowboy and cowgirl, Jain sources musical inspiration from the scores of Bollywood classics and Spaghetti Westerns, Indian folk traditions, jazz improvisation, and rollicking psychedelic and surf guitar styles. Wild Wild East is an album rooted in the contemporary American soundscape, singing in a new voice, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
Founder and bandleader of global party band Red Baraat, performing at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival, and the White House under Obama. Sunny has drummed with Peter Gabriel, Norah Jones, Dewey Redman, Martha Wainwrite, Vijay Iyer, and Tongues in Trees.
Tracklisting: Immigrant Warrior / Wild Wild East / Osian / Red, Brown, Black / Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal (Remembrance) / Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal / Baaghi / Blackwell / Hai Apna Dil To Aawara / Maitri Bhavanu
Model: PICTISH TRAIL
Release Date: 21 February 2020
2020 album. Johnny Lynch plays his unique brand of folk and electronica. Also available on CD.
Pictish Trail’s new album ‘Thumb World’ is bold, weird, wild, wired, sonically luxurious yet never losing touch with its DIY-‘til-I-die roots, and is a voyage to the outer rings of Johnny Lynch’s mind at its darkest, funniest and most inventive – a plugged-in, fuzzed-out, fucked-up contemplation on, as he puts it, “life repeating and gradually degrading, the inevitable cyclical nature of things, and the sense of their ultimately being no escape.”
Expect alien abductions, thumping beats, Trump-haired pigs, paternal panic, astronaut sex, bad acid trips, worse hangovers, lashings of distortion and a lot of anthropomorphic thumbs. “Our opposable thumbs are the things that separate us from most other animals on Earth,” Pictish explains, of the fat digit symbolism, “they are also the things that we use to swipe on screens, to separate ourselves from our normal lives, but which in turn trap us within an artificial reality.”
Produced and mixed by Rob Jones, featuring string arrangements from Kim Moore and drumming from Alex Thomas (Squarepusher, Anna Calvi, Air), Thumb World is Pictish Trail’s most collaborative album to date. An audio-visual dialogue with Swatpaz, AKA Scottish artist Davey Ferguson – the man behind the Turbo Fantasy series and an entire episode of cult TV phenomenon Adventure Time – furnished Johnny with not just a graphic aesthetic for the album, but even helped him to shape the sound of the finished record. “I sent Davey a work-in-progress mix of the album,” Johnny says, “he came back with sketches in which he had reimagined Thumb World as an 80’s arcade game. Some of the songs are centered around specific visual images, inspired by Davey’s sketches.”
Tracklisting: Repeat Neverending / Double Sided / Pig Nice / Lead Balloon / Fear Anchor / Slow Memories / Bad Algebra / Heart Eyes / Turning Back / Thumb World
Model: OZZY OSBOURNE
Release Date: 21 February 2020
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Winning, former frontman of Black Sabbath and solo vocalist and songwriter “The Prince Of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne is releasing his first studio album in almost a decade ‘Ordinary Man’.
'Ordinary Man' was recorded in Los Angeles and features Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on bass, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith on drums, and producer Andrew Watt on guitar. Beyond the core band, 'Ordinary Man' features a who’s-who of Ozzy riends and collaborators including Elton John, Post Malone, and Tom Morello.
Of the new project, Ozzy said in a press release:
"It all started when [daughter] Kelly comes in and says “do you want to work on a Post Malone song?” My first thing was “who the fuck is Post Malone?!” I went to Andrew’s [Watt] house and he said we will work really quick.
"After we finished that song, he said ‘would you be interested in starting an album.’ I said ‘that would be fucking great, but now I am thinking I don’t want to be working in a basement studio for six months! And in just a short time, we had the album done. Duff [McKagan] and Chad [Smith] came in and we would go in and jam during the day and I would go work out the songs in the evenings.
"I previously had said to Sharon I should be doing an album, but in the back of my mind I was going ‘I haven’t got the fucking strength…’ but Andrew pulled it out of me. I really hope people listen to it and enjoy it, because I put my heart and soul into this album.”Ozzy added that ‘Ordinary Man’ is “quite possibly the most important album I have done in a very long time.” He also claims that the album is “a gift from my higher power.” ‘Ordinary Man’ is the follow-up to Ozzy’s 2010 solo LP ‘Scream’.
“It all just came together,” OZZY explains of the guest stars. “Slash is a dear friend of mine, as is Elton. When I was writing ‘Ordinary Man,’ it reminded me of an old Elton song and I said to Sharon, ‘I wonder if he would sing on it?’ We asked and lo and behold, he agreed and sings and play piano on the song.”
Tracklisting: Straight to Hell / All My Life / Goodbye / Ordinary Man (feat. Elton John) / Under the Graveyard / Eat Me / Today Is The End / Scary Little Green Men / Holy For Tonight / It's A Raid (feat. Post Malone)
Model: SPINNING COIN
Release Date: 21 February 2020
2020 album also available on Vinyl.
Glaswegian formed quintet Spinning Coin release their second album, ‘Hyacinth’, via Geographic. This is indie music from its bowl haircuts to its dirty Converses. The two songwriters in the band have their different strengths. Jack Mellin draws more from the spikier end of things, with Tin sounding like a slightly less ramshackle Josef K song, while Sean Armstrong tends towards the more straight forwardly melancholic end of indie.
Throughout Hyacinth, there is joy in spades, but also melancholy, and a checked fury, threading the group’s political vision through their reflections on the personal and the interpersonal. Jack explains that the new songs “are about the need for love in an often very unloving world. Trying to find a balance of some kind between feelings of apathy, negativity, detachment and action, positivity and oneness.” Whilst Mellin’s songs were more pointedly political on Permo, here he has built more complexity into his writing. Elsewhere, Rachel contributes her first song to a Spinning Coin release, in the form of the beautiful “Black Cat”.
Hyacinth was recorded during a few days, by Peter Deimel at Black Box Studios in France, while the group were on a summertime tour. It was an idyll, a restorative respite. That carries through to the album, there’s a sense of society and collectivism at the heart of these pop songs, and a commentary on the optimism of the will, no matter how bleak things can get. Ultimately, on Hyacinth, the Spinning Coin ethos stays true to itself, as Sean expands about the experiences and the motivations behind the new music: “It’s trying to connect with other people on a human level, doing something that we love, and trying to embrace the unknown.”
A brave step forward, ‘Hyacinth’ is an album full of poetry, light and warmth of heart and presents a band holding nothing back. ‘Hyacinth’ registers a number of changes for the group since their debut album ‘Permo’ in 2017: personnel changes, geographical changes, a new context, an ever-changing world outside.
Tracklisting: Avenues of Spring / Feel You More Than / World Right Now / Get High / The Long Heights / Despotic Sway / Ghosting / Laughing Ways / Black Cat / Soul / Trader / Never Enough / Slips Away / It’s Alright / Thing Of The Past
Garland Records Pacific Northwest Juke Box [Coloured vinyl]
Release Date: 21 February 2020
Contained here is some super deep 'Northwestern Soul' including three cuts making their inaugural spins 50 years after they were put to tape. Also available on CD.
‘Pacific Northwest Juke Box’ is a treat for the ears and contains some blinding rare and unissued Pacific Northwest floor fillers! While soul music might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the music of the Pacific Northwest, Salem Oregon’s Garland Records was churning out high quality hip shakers along with their reels of garage & psych. Contained here is some super deep “Northwestern Soul,” including three cuts making their inaugural spins 50 years after they were put to tape. From the politically powerful “Freedom Train,” a pleasantly less polished version of a Motown staple, to a pair of energetic takes on some Bobby Blue Bland steamers. Some seriously unique takes on soul classics paired with some soul could’ve beens. CD includes two bonus cuts not available on the LP!
With Sundazed Music’s acquisition of the Garland Records catalog you’re in for a tidal wave of great garage rock, pysch, soul, and even some country. Here with Pacific Northwest Juke Box, you’re treated to floor fillers and even a couple for holding your special person close.
True to form for BeatRocket’s Garland Records collections is the abundance of original material. Sixties Salem Oregon was about as musically diverse as they come and BeatRocket is sorting through the Garland reels to prove it!
Tracklisting: Freedom Train - White Feather / Just One Time - Cornucopia / Reach Out I’ll Be There - Morning Reign / Findin’ My Own Kind Of Song - Crystal Teardrop / I Can’t Understand - DART / Mr. Love - Prince Charles & The Crusaders / Don’t Cry No More - DART / Dorchester Summer - Crystal Teardrop / Any Day Now - White Feather / It’s Alright - Baldwin Brothers / Lead Me On - DART / But It’s Alright - Morning Reign / Ticket To Denver - Baldwin Brothers
From This Place
Model: PAT METHENY
Release Date: 21 February 2020
2020 album. Also available on vinyl.
Pat Metheny’s ‘From This Place’ features ten compositions by Metheny, who is joined by his long-time drummer, Antonio Sanchez, Malaysian/Australian bassist Linda May Han Oh, and British pianist Gwilym Simcock as well as the Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by Joel McNeely. Meshell Ndegeocello (vocals), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), and Luis Conte (percussion) are special guests on ‘From This Place’, Metheny’s first album of new material since 2014’s Kin (←→). Metheny, Simcock, Oh, and Sanchez begin an extensive international tour in 2020.
“From This Place is one of the records I have been waiting to make my whole life. It is a kind of musical culmination, reflecting a wide range of expressions that have interested me over the years, scaled across a large canvas, presented in a way that offers the kind of opportunities for communication that can only be earned with a group of musicians who have spent hundreds of nights together on the bandstand,” says Metheny.
Over the course of more than three decades, guitarist Pat Metheny has set himself apart from the jazz mainstream, expanding and blurring boundaries and musical styles. His record-setting body of work includes twenty Grammy Awards in twelve separate categories and in an amazing streak was the only bandleader to win Grammy Awards for seven consecutive releases; a series of influential trio recordings; award-winning solo albums; scores for hit Hollywood motion pictures; and collaborations and duets with major artists like Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, and many others. Oh, and David Bowie.